MANNA’s advocacy team – Executive Director, Sue Daugherty, Director of Policy and Institutional Affairs, Ann Hoskins-Brown, and Community Outreach & Advocacy Specialist, Katelyn Baron – attended the 2014 Advocacy Capacity Building Project (ACBP) Symposium September 29-October 1, at NASTAD in Washington D.C. The annual symposium encourages collaboration between “sister” organizations from all over the country, with over 50 attendees from 20 diverse food and nutrition services agencies this year. Each participant had the opportunity to share their best practices and recent advocacy activities; MANNA presented updates on how we are working to leverage our groundbreaking research with targeted advocacy work. Together, we brainstormed and discussed topics including the power of evidence and developing and delivering an impactful message.
The symposium offered several opportunities to participate in advocacy trainings to learn the tools of the trade, helping to facilitate successful interactions with elected officials and academic institutions. This training was crucial for our visits with staff from the offices of Congressman Chaka Fattah, Congressman Bob Brady, Senator Bob Casey and Senator Pat Toomey from Pennsylvania, along with several New Jersey legislators. Our Hill meetings, scheduled for our final day in D.C., provided the opportunity to share our “food is medicine” model and research with policymakers to demonstrate its potential to change healthcare. MANNA’s services save Pennsylvania valuable healthcare dollars and our clients experience improved health outcomes. We believe our meal program should be a reimbursable standard of care and a right to everyone facing a life-threatening illness.
Overall, our time in DC opened our eyes to many new possibilities. There is still much to learn and we are excited to redefine our goals and continue to move forward with our mission. ACBP has empowered us to take on new advocacy goals focused at the state level. It was motivating and refreshing to share and hear new ideas about our unique services. MANNA has many challenges ahead, but we will continue to advocate for the incorporation of nutrition into healthcare.
We want to thank The M•A•C AIDS Fund, The Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation at Harvard Law School, AIDS United, the National AIDS Housing Coalition, Representatives from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare (CMS) for all of their support. To all of our sister organizations, we thank you for collaborating and learning with us. These organizations include: God’s Love We Deliver, Project Angel Food, Open Hand Atlanta, Project Angel Heart, AIDS Project New Haven, AIDS Services Foundation Orange County, Moveable Feast, Community Servings, Project Open Hand, Bill’s Kitchen, Inc., Heartland Health Outreach, Mama’s Kitchen, Long Island Association for AIDS Care, Food & Friends, The Poverello Center, Lifelong AIDS Alliance and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
To see more pictures from our DC visit, see our Facebook album.